Did British F-35B Crash in The Med due to Forgotten Rain Cover on Air Intake
On November 17, 2021, an F-35B Lightning jet from the RAF 617 Squadron crashed in the Mediterranean Sea shortly after taking off from the British aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth. The pilot was rescued and returned to the ship after being ejected from the aircraft.
Following the incident, British Defence Secretary Ben Wallace stated that operations and training flights on HMS Queen Elizabeth would continue despite the incident. According to the avionics process, the whole fleet's activities are paused until any technical difficulties are resolved.
British, American, and Italian planes continued to fly.
Regarding what caused the F-35B accident, the British Tabloid The Sun speculates that it might have been a "cheap plastic cover" left on before take-off.
In the exclusive article "Flop Gun!" a £100 million Royal Navy fighter plane crashed "because a cheap plastic rain cover was left on during take-off." On November 23, Jerome Starkey wrote:
Sailors saw a red cover floating in the sea after the stealth jet splashed into the Mediterranean.
If confirmed, the F-35B crash was caused by a catastrophic chain of failures in following standard taxi and take-off procedures, which will almost certainly include multiple visual checks of the actual removal of the air intake covers and safety pins (which are red in colour and have the usual "Remove Before Flight" sign to attract attention and prevent such incidents.
The Sun is well-known for its sensational reporting. It has been embroiled in several issues over its existence, including erroneous statements concerning the Hillsborough football stadium catastrophe in 1989.